Gregg Dodderidge

Badgers make an early playoff exit

The Badger Volleyball season ended abruptly on Halloween night in Visalia. It isn’t something Badger Volleyball fans are used to.

The norm is for the Badger volleyball program to host many playoff games in the Badger gym on the way to a CIF Section title match up.

It didn’t turn out that way in the 2019 season.

The Badgers were 10-0 in the North Sequoia League and won their fourth-straight NSL volleyball title.

Normally, YHS plays in Division III where they were ranked in the top 10 most of the season. Last year the Badgers earned their first CIF title since 2004.

It was the ninth section title in school history, the most in any sport at Yosemite.

The reward this year from the Central Section CIF Volleyball seeding committee: Move YHS into Division II.

YHS received a 16-seed and traveled to play one of the best teams in the section, the No. 1 seeded Redwood High Rangers of Visalia, who were undefeated at 37-0. Not surprisingly, the Badgers were eliminated 3-0 (25-20, 25-12, and 25-19) last Thursday in Visalia.

“Well, our playoff-run ended very quickly,” YHS head coach Michelle Chenowith said. “We lost to a number-one seed and a strong program in Redwood. They had two outside hitters that we just couldn’t stop.”

The Badgers had some outstanding individual performances against Redwood, according to Chenowith.

Keylee Andersen had an awesome game with 11 kills. Raigan Gipson had 8 kills and Kayla Truelove with 3 kills. Madison Morris had 15 digs, Ava Gresham & Lily Madaus each had 14 digs, and Kylee Smith had 20 digs. Isabelle Magee had 10 assists and Lily Madaus had 8 assists. Ava had 14 good passes and Kaylee Smith had 15 good passes.

The Badger Volleyball program is riding high since Chenowith returned to guide the Badgers in her second head coaching stint.

Chenowith had guided the Badgers previously to three section titles (1997, 2000, and 2001). All Chenowith has done since returning in 2014 is win four straight North Sequoia League titles and a CIF D-III title last season.

Yosemite volleyball is the flagship sports program at Yosemite.

Of the 25 Central Section CIF titles won by the Badgers since the school’s inception, 9 were won in Volleyball. It is an elite program despite the early exit at Redwood. The Badgers have been ranked in the top 5 in their division for 5 straight seasons.

Badger head coach Michelle Chenowith said it doesn’t diminish and outstanding season where the Badgers finished 25-16 overall.

“The highlight of our season was being 10-0 in league,” Chenowith said. “We have a strong league that does well in playoffs traditionally. To be undefeated in the North Sequoia League is a huge accomplishment! It was a pleasure to coach this group of girls.”

She praised seniors Kayla Truelove, Madison Gipson, Emily Walton, Isabelle Magee, and Keylee Andersen.

The YHS JV, led by first-year head coach Melinda Gresham, were also 10-0 in the NSL. Badger dominance in the NSL and beyond will continue.